Hutchins as Wheezer in School's Out
|Born||Robert E. Hutchins
March 29, 1925
|Died||May 17, 1945
Cause of death
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch|| United States Army
United States Army Air Corps
|Years of service||1943–1945|
Robert E. "Bobby" Hutchins (March 29, 1925 - May 17, 1945) was an American child actor who was a regular in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1927 to 1933. A native of Tacoma, Washington, he was given the nickname of Wheezer after running around the studios on his first day so much that he began to wheeze.
Bobby Hutchins was born to James and Olga (Constance) Hutchins in Washington state. His father was a native of Kentucky and his mother a native of Washington.
Wheezer appeared in 58 Our Gang films during his six years in the series. For much of his run, "Wheezer" was portrayed as the perennial tag-along little brother, put off by the older children but always anxious to be part of the action.
Hutchins' first film in Our Gang was the 1927 short Baby Brother. Hutchins' tenure in Our Gang took him through both the silent and early sound periods of the series. He appears as the main character of several of the films, including Bouncing Babies, Pups is Pups, Big Ears and Dogs is Dogs. He left the series at the end of the 1932-33 film season after appearing in Mush and Milk; his only film work outside of Our Gang includes a handful of appearances in three outside features in 1932 and 1933. Hutchins was 8 when he left the series in 1933.
Other members of the Our Gang troupe remember very little about Hutchins. Jackie Cooper said "You’d go to play with Wheezer and his father would pull him away. Very competitive. I didn't get a satisfactory answer from my mother or grandmother as to why, but he was to be left alone." Other cast members reported that Hutchins was abused by his parents to keep him from outgrowing Our Gang. Hutchins' younger brother Dickie appeared in the short Forgotten Babies.
After Our Gang
After outgrowing the series, Hutchins and his family eventually moved back to Tacoma, where he entered public school. He joined the U.S. Army in 1943 after graduating high school. In early 1945 he enrolled to become an air cadet.
Hutchins was killed in a mid-air collision on May 17, 1945 while trying to land a North American AT-6D-NT Texan, serial number 42-86536, of the 3026th Base Unit, when it struck an AT-6C-15-NT Texan, 42-49068, of the same unit, at Merced Army Air Field in Merced, California, during a training exercise. The other pilot, Edward F. Hamel, survived. Hutchins' mother, Olga Hagerson, had been scheduled to travel to the airfield for his graduation from flying school, which would have occurred the week after he died.
- 1930 United States Federal Census, California District 127, page 38. ancestry.com - Retrieved 25 February 2009
- Cooper, Jackie (1982). Please Don't Shoot My Dog: The Autobiography of Jackie Cooper. New York: Penguin Putnam. ISBN 0-425-07483-8
- Maltin, Leonard and Bann, Richard W. (1977, rev. 1992). The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang, p. 253. New York: Crown Publishing/Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-58325-9
- Modesto Bee, May 18, 1945.
- Bobby Hutchins at the Internet Movie Database
- Bobby Hutchins at AllMovie
- Bobby Hutchins at Find a Grave